I’ve always enjoyed the stories and art styles of anime, and thanks to many nerdy friends, I’ve seen some of the greatest shows in the genre. When I don’t have someone guiding my binge sessions, though, I tend to get sucked into less-than-awesome series. But I just can’t stop watching them! Beneath bad artwork, shotty story lines, and cringe-worthy dialogue, I always find something that pulls me to the end of the show. So watch the pilots of these five animes at your own risk!
This Ugly yet Beautiful World
This was the first anime that a friend shamed me for watching, and a long line of addicting duds followed it. That being said, I don’t regret watching this romantic… comedy? Romantic drama? Well, the characters are funny and the ending, while confusing, is dramatic, so we’ll go with romantic dramedy. The show had a great message hidden beneath the cheesy dialogue and sub-par art, and when the ending came after only 12 episodes, I was begging my friend in Japan to tell me that there was a manga somewhere over there that continued the story.
Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately) since rewatching TUYBW with more experienced eyes, it has shown me just how messed up this show really is. All the story consists of is two human boys falling in love with two alien sisters, one of which who has come to destroy the earth. Luckily she can’t remember that until the end of the series, and luckily her boyfriend gains super magical powers to stop her.
What really kept me going was the main character’s love for the ordinary. Hikari, the alien who eventually tries to blow up the world, only remembers solitary darkness before arriving on earth, so everything from the feel of grass to the colors in a bonfire fascinates her. While I hate how she responds to these new stimuli (she’s a squealer) I do love the idea of really seeing how beautiful the world is despite all its blemishes.
The Devil is a Part-Timer
This one… this one I regret watching. It’s so stupid! I think it’s the absurdity of it all that intrigued me, though. The Devil (you know, the guy who rules Hell although in this show it’s another realm called Ente Isla, and you’ve got all kinds of demons and heroes and magicians running around doing God knows what) gets transported to modern day Tokyo during one of his battles with the Hero Emilia. Stuck in the human world, he has to get a part time job at McDonalds—I’m sorry, MgRonalds—and quickly works his way up to a managerial position. Once you experience the power that a chain restaurant manager holds, you never go back! But of course, people from Ente Isla (both good and bad) want to get at the Devil, so they hop on through to our side and start picking on the Devil’s employees. That’s not gonna fly, so you know there’s going to be an epic battle with lots of witty banter. See. So stupid, it’s funny.
The Seven Deadly Sins
I’m really proud of myself when it comes to The Seven Deadly Sins. Normally, I’m the one calling up my anime senseis gushing about a new show I found only to have them brush me off and say, “When I get back from Japan, I’ll show you some real anime.” This time, though, I was the more experienced viewer, and while I’m super glad my friend’s branching out and trying more anime, I was more pleased that I caught how bad this show was!
Really, The Seven Deadly Sins rates much better than the first two shows on this list. The story of a princess seeking the help of seven criminals who may or may not have slaughtered hundreds of the king’s bravest knights (all of whom have magical powers) is potentially interesting, especially when you throw in a conspiracy to bring about the destruction of the kingdom by drinking demon blood and obtaining demon powers. And while I hate Princess Elizabeth and her whininess (“I wanna help but I can’t do anything. Oh, wait! What’s this magical power I didn’t know about until the end of season one.”), I love all of the sins (except for the seventh sin because, spoiler, you never meet him!). I have trouble remembering which sin actually goes with each character. You’d think that’d be a bigger deal than it is, but really, it’s not. But they’ve got some sweet powers, and their back stories are really interesting.
Unfortunately, they tried to cram too much into one season (probably afraid the unoriginal fight sequences would drive us all away). By the end their throwing in vengeful fairies, King Arthur, magical angel powers, revelations of betrayals that you don’t even remember happening, and a love square that involves way too much boob groping. All this while never answering the question that’s really on everyone’s mind: “Why is there a talking pig, and why does nobody seem to care that he’s the only talking pig in this world?”
This show is sick. But just like The Purge, it has a twisted concept that really makes you think: What if all of our criminals were placed in amusement parks, and the way society paid for these people to be housed there was by inviting the public to partake in the “merriments” of the park while the criminals worked and performed? In a world like that, our tax dollars wouldn’t be going towards three warm meals and a hot shower for the guy who just murdered your neighbor.
But let’s be honest. I probably just liked this show because it has children in jeopardy. That makes me sound sick, but I think it’s uplifting when a young person goes through every horror imaginable and still manages to save the day (or at least come out of the final boss battle alive). And middle schooler Ganta is a prime example; although, he wines a lot more than the average kid hero. After being framed for the murder of his entire class, Ganta is sent to Deadman Wonderland and has to survive not only the run-of-the-mill inmates but also the super humans who for some reason have the power to contort their blood into weapons… yeah, I’m still wrapping my head around that last part.
While Deadman Wonderland got really confusing really fast, the basic idea is intriguing enough that I’ve seriously considered reading the manga to get a better idea of what exactly is going on in this futuristic prison. There’s potential for a sequel to the anime, though it seems unlikely since it’s been several years since the first season came out. If they ever do produce it, though, I’m not sad to say that I’ll probably watch it.
I absolutely love Pokemon. To this day, I will go back and watch the original three movies as well as the occasional Indigo League episode (in my humble, baseless opinion, everything after 2000 is crap—if me not liking the new billions of Pokemon they pulled out of their butts means I’m not a true Pokemon fan, so be it). I’ll always be dedicated to the original 150 (plus or minus a few mythical Pokemon).
It saddens me now to look back on one of my favorite childhood shows after having watched such great works like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Attack on Titan. While Pokemon knows how to market the power of friendship better than any tv show out there, it’s story is basically the same from episode to episode. Sure, there will be new adventures and new characters, but in the end, it’s always Ash and his buddies fighting to be the greatest Pokemon Master. One can only handle so many daring escapes from Team Rocket, and even fewer of those tedious tournaments.
But the bond between Ash and his Pokemon and his friends, that’s what keeps you coming back for more. After all these years of higher quality animes, I got the urge to see what Ash and his companions were up to. I watched Pokemon 4Ever nearly 15 years after it had been originally released (remember, I swore off all Pokemon produced after 2000), and I actually sort of enjoyed it. Not because of the artwork that had only slightly improved. Not because the story was decent. Certainly not because of the numerous Pokemon that I couldn’t identify. But because Ash and Pikachu gave their all to protect those Pokemon.
Don’t worry fans of Digimon, Yu-Gi-oh! or any other anime that got their creators rich off of selling kids trading cards. Your “so bad you can’t stop watching” animes fall under the Pokemon category. But if I missed your personal favorite, share it with us below in the comments or at Omnibus Journal’s sister site, The Unrefined Forum!
Featured image courtesy of Funimation.